home to Maria Callas, and Call Me by My Name filmed here">
Sirmione Lake Garda | Explore Travel Guide Italy | The Aficionados
previous story next story

With love from Catullus, Lord Tennyson to Callas

Sirmione is an absolute charm ball landmarked by pillars, arcaded colonnades and a romantic Medieval castle. Jutting out into clear turquoise waters along a narrow peninsula on the southern shores of Italy's Lake Garda (Lago di Garda), this destination is picture-card-perfect. 

Aficionados of Sirmione date back to Roman poet Catullus, the founder of the love poem, who was believed to have lived on the lake from 84-54 B.C. In poem 31, he writes, "Sirmio, jewel of islands, jewel of peninsulas, with what joy, what pleasure I gaze at you". In Frater Ave Atque Vale, Alfred Lord Tennyson immortalised Sirmione's beauty with 'O venusta Sirmio!.

Another captivated resident 'diva' was the legendary opera singer, Maria Callas, who came here to rest out of the spotlight; it was her Refugio. More recently, the cult movie Call Me By Your Name was partly filmed here, including the trio's sunset dip at nearby Spiaggia Giamaica, aka Jamaica Beach.

Thermal baths kept the Romans happy, and so you should defo make a pitstop at one of the town's present offerings: Terme di Catullo and Terme di Virgilio. Architectural highlights include the Roman archaeological ruins of "Grotte di Catullo" from the 1st-century B.C. (the most important Roman site in Northern Italy), the 13th-century fortress, Scaligero Castle, posh villas, modernism, and even Bauhaus converge in this lakeside town. Flit across the water to nearby Desenzano del Garda and pop into the cathedral, which has an unconventional Last Supper by Tiepolo and the church of San Pietro in Mavino is adorned with frescoes.

With boats pulling into the arcaded Venetian harbour, the port quayside is busy with ferries, catamarans and hydrofoils. Cool off in the waters of Lake Garda on a warm summer's day at Jamaica Beach, meander through cobbled streets over a Gelato, it is Italy after all, and soak up the charisma of Sirmione with a chilled Aperol Spritz to hand; the scene is rather romantic and beautiful. You can see why so many have fallen in love with Sirmione.

Sirmione Lake Garda Italy - image by Steffen Zimmermann
Sirmione Lake Garda | Explore Travel Guide Italy | The Aficionados Sirmione Lake Garda | Explore Travel Guide Italy | The Aficionados


view more